Superior (hierarchy)
In a hierarchy
A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being "above," "below," or "at the same level as" one another...

 or tree structure
Tree structure
A tree structure is a way of representing the hierarchical nature of a structure in a graphical form. It is named a "tree structure" because the classic representation resembles a tree, even though the chart is generally upside down compared to an actual tree, with the "root" at the top and the...

 of any kind, a superior is an individual or position at a higher level in the hierarchy than another (a "subordinate" or "inferior"), and thus closer to the apex
Apex (geometry)
In geometry, an apex is the vertex which is in some sense the highest of the figure to which it belongs.*In an isosceles triangle, the apex is the vertex where the two sides of equal length meet, opposite the unequal third side....

. It is often used in business terminology to refer to people who are supervisor
A supervisor, foreperson, team leader, overseer, cell coach, facilitator, or area coordinator is a manager in a position of trust in business...

s and in the military to people who are higher in the chain of command
Chain of Command
Chain of Command may refer to:* Chain of command, in a military context, the line of authority and responsibility along which orders are passed* "Chain of Command" , the fifth episode of the first season of Beast Wars...

 (Superior Officer). Superiors are given, sometimes supreme, authority over others in the control. When an order is given, one must follow that order and obey it or punishment may be issued.

A Religious Superior is the person to whom a cleric is immediately responsible under canon law
Canon law
Canon law is the body of laws & regulations made or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Catholic Church , the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion of...

. For monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

s, it would be the Abbot
The word abbot, meaning father, is a title given to the head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not actually the head of a monastery...

 (or the Abbess
An abbess is the female superior, or mother superior, of a community of nuns, often an abbey....

 for nun
A nun is a woman who has taken vows committing her to live a spiritual life. She may be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live her life in prayer and contemplation in a monastery or convent...

s); for friar
A friar is a member of one of the mendicant orders.-Friars and monks:...

s, it would be the Prior
Prior is an ecclesiastical title, derived from the Latin adjective for 'earlier, first', with several notable uses.-Monastic superiors:A Prior is a monastic superior, usually lower in rank than an Abbot. In the Rule of St...

, or, for Franciscans, the Guardian (Custos); for diocesan
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

 priests, it would be the local Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

. In religious orders with a hierarchy above the local community, there will also be superiors general
Superior general
A Superior General, or General Superior, is the Superior at the head of a whole religious order or congregation.The term is mainly used as a generic term, while many orders and congregations use other specific titles, notably:* Abbot general...

 and possibly provincial superior
Provincial superior
A Provincial Superior is a major superior of a religious order acting under the order's Superior General and exercising a general supervision over all the members of that order in a territorial division of the order called a province--similar to but not to be confused with an ecclesiastical...

s above the local abbot, prior, or Mother Superior
An abbess is the female superior, or mother superior, of a community of nuns, often an abbey....

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